Albums Of The Month – January 2024

Our Top Six Albums January 2024

The High Hawks – Photo: Michael Weintrob

Top Six Album Releases

January 2024

Our Top Six Albums January 2024

By Rob Dickens

Bill Jackson



Bandcamp Link HERE

Bill Jackson‘s previous three albums were a vivid trilogy of colourful tales, reminding us of key events and characters in Australian folklore history. With his regular songwriter brother Ross plus the gifted Kerryn Tolhurst, he has upped the ante on 1965, a ten-song collection of tracks that boast irresistible melodies and captivating lyrics.

“1965 was the year of my musical awakening, coinciding with what some would describe as a watershed and revolutionary year in music. Everyone got a licence to write, inspired by the creative output of artists like The Byrds, Dylan, The Stones, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, the Bakersfield and Nashville sounds, Motown – the list goes on. Pop became Rock and Roll and accelerated the drive for personal freedom. My life would never be the same as I launched into my first chords on guitar. I also started writing not long after that and here I am…

Album Liner Notes

“Who Wins Wars” is such a potent comment on human futility and “Precious Cargo” shines a light on the creativity of capturing life experiences (the latter a co-write with Nashville legend Mac Gayden). These are just two fine examples of this fiercely independent artist who is one of Australia’s finest folk artists.


Via Artist

The High Hawks

Mother Nature’s Show

LoHi Records

16 February 2024

The High Hawks (Vince Herman, Brian Adams, Will Trask, Tim Carbone, Chad Staehly and Adam Gruel) are an all-star cast of musical friends from A-list bands Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth, Hard Working Americans and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, with Mother Nature’s Show a follow-up to their eponymous debut (2021).

The album was recorded during the dead of winter at Pachyderm Studios in the small town of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, starting on New Year’s Day 2023 and the tracks included on the record were put to bed in just one week while a blizzard raged outside the studio.

Aside from the sheer depth of experience and talent, the album has a warmth and sense of fun that may have something to do with both the stages of their careers and their desire to do something creative but different, as well as the cosiness of the warm studio. This vibe is perfectly captured in the clip below.

Four singers, harmonies from heaven and talented friends enjoying each other’s company. It’s a beautiful set-up.


Via Propeller Publicity

Holler Choir

Songs Before They Write Themselves


12 January 2024

Asheville’s Holler Choir features the lyrical prowess and outstanding vocals of Clint Roberts with the harmony vocals and dulcet clawhammer banjo of Helena Rose. Add upright bassist Norbert McGettigan and a cast of collaborators and you have a band committed to adding their own take on traditional Appalachian culture and musical history.

Songs Before They Write Themselves is a rich delight, crafted at the iconic Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville (read about our visit there) under the aegis of Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist and producer Michael Ashworth.

There is not a misstep on this record, exceptionally capturing the essence of this young and immensely promising outfit. All the songs are originals, but the one cover, Nirvana’s intense “Heart-Shaped Box” is so striking and imaginative, that I’ve chosen it as the showcase track.


Via Victory Lap Media


Spanish Villager No: 3

Verve Label Group

16 September 2022

Okay, this one is hardly new, I know. I somehow missed it at release time, but when the album was included in the media release for Ondara‘s Australian tour next year (more details of that HERE), I became entranced by it.

The Spanish Villager is a mysterious and versatile messenger, the subject of a short story Ondara wrote and turned into a graphic novel, followed by the album. It’s an immersive and hypnotic ride.

“This collection of work and the work that lies ahead in presenting it to the world, is a metaphor for my spiritual path. There is death and resurrection in it, a peeling of layers, a pursuit of the truest form of the self in the universe. Ironically, the adaptation of the Spanish Villager character has made me more acquainted with myself.


Spanish Villager No: 3 was predominately produced by Ondara and Mike Viola with contributions from Taylor Goldsmith and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes, Sebastian SteinbergTim Kuhl and Jeremy Stacey.


Via Jo Corbett Publicity

Sister Sadie

No Fear

Mountain Home Music Company

26 January 2024

Sister Sadie launched in the wake of an ostensibly one-off show at Nashville’s landmark Station Inn in 2012. Embracing its all-female identity, the collective has garnered much acclaim and for good reason – International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 2020, as well as Vocal Group of the Year in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.

Most of the band – fiddle player Deanie Richardson, banjo player/vocalist Gena Britt, guitarist/vocalist Jaelee Roberts, Dani Flowers (vocals and guitar) and bassist Maddie Dalton – have won prestigious individual recognition to add to their trophy cabinet.

No Fear is their first full-length project for the highly-regarded Mountain Home Music Company * and the third album all up, coming more than five years since their second album was released, after coping with the pandemic and personnel changes.

Whatever dark times the band has experienced, the emergence of the new album is a vibrant, dynamic testimony to the band’s talent and versatility, with hard-edged and power-rhythm bluegrass.


Via Mountain Home Music Company

*we had planned to visit Mountain Home Music Company as part of our 2023 GrassRoots Music Tour, before our vehicle got towed away that is! Now that is a story unto itself for another day…

Zach Russell

Where The Flowers Meet The Dew

Carlboro Records

1 December 2023

East Tennessee’s Zach Russell has worked up to his musical career with some targeted diligence. He spent seven years observing the bustling and crowded Nashville singer/songwriter scene, seeing firsthand how other musicians plied their trade, including a stint on the road as Tyler Childers’ merchandise manager.

Convincing himself he had what it takes to start out in the ‘business’, he decided on a change of scenery and moved to East Nashville to be closer to family and nature which seems to have brought a clarity of vision that is evidenced in his debut full-length album Where The Flowers Meet The Dew.

The ten tracks are loaded with wisdom, melancholy, uncertainty and contentment and the musical arrangements are both dextrous and different, never letting the listener get too settled or comfortable. Zach Russell is a stimulating new voice and this record is packed with rewards.


Via IVPR Nashville



More Music Adventures Await!


Our Top Six Albums January 2024

Our Top Six Albums January 2024

Our Top Six Albums January 2024

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Author: Rob Dickens

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